Finally, somebody’s come up with a plausible solution for the African refugee
problem: Send Mossad agents to kill the Sinai Beduin smugglers who bring them
I can’t take credit for the idea; Alex Fishman, the military
affairs commentator for Yediot Aharonot, broached it in print on
Monday. The day after, MK Ya’acov Katz, chairman of the Knesset Committee
on Foreign Workers, spelled the plan out bluntly: “We must arrest all the Beduin
[smugglers of refugees], put them in holding tanks and fire a bullet in the head
of those who lead the convoys. Three or four Beduin will be shot down and the
convoys will stop.”
It wouldn’t be so quick and easy, but – in the
absence of any workable alternative – that’s the only way to go. I think Egypt
would understand where Israel is coming from; for years now Egyptian border
guards have been jailing or shooting African refugees led by Beduin through the
Sinai to the border, where they cross over, often under a hail of Egyptian
bullets. If Egypt were prepared to tell its border guards to stop killing
refugees and start jailing and in the last resort killing the smugglers who
enable them to get here, that would be the best arrangement of all. If not, the
Mossad will have to handle it.
Murder, you say? Assassination? Yes. The
Beduin who smuggle refugees from Sudan and Eritrea through the Sinai to the
border are, plainly and simply, desert Nazis. They’ve set up camps where they
torture, rape and kill refugees for money and pleasure. They richly deserve to
die and there seems to be no other way to stop them.
“For 10 days they
chained me to three other people. They treated us like animals. They burned
people and told them to get on the telephone to their families so they would
hear them screaming [and send more money],” an Eritrean man who made it here
’s Anat Fishbein last month.
An Eritrean woman said the
smugglers beat her to a pulp and got her to call a friend in Sudan for another
$500. “But afterward they wanted $1,000 more. They went on beating me and my
husband and demanding the money. One man would ask my husband: ‘Do you love your
wife?’ If he said ‘yes,’ the man would beat him harder...
“They left me
in the house for a week. Every night the man would come, and I had no more
strength to resist. He would blindfold me, take me in the car somewhere and rape
me... After a week my friend sent them the rest of the money. The man told my
husband that even though he got the money, he wanted me to stay, to be his wife.
My husband started to cry, and the man beat him.”
GANGS OF smugglers hold
thousands of African refugees, mainly from Eritrea, in these sadism-for-profit
camps in the Sinai. They kill or abandon many of their victims. Interviewing
refugees in the Sahronim facility near the border, Fishbein wrote: “A tall youth
in a hooded sweatshirt says [the smugglers] left his group in the desert without
food or water for three weeks. Three people died immediately, 15 others died
within days and the rest dispersed. Of the 60 in the original group, seven made
it to Israel. One got shot to death by Egyptian soldiers near the
Amazingly, they keep coming. “They tell themselves it won’t
happen to them,” William Tall, representative in Israel for the UN High
Commissioner for Refugees, told me. More than 1,000 of these Africans cross
every month, twice the rate of last year. There are about 35,000 in the country
Some 85 percent come from Eritrea and Sudan, and Israel is pledged
by treaty not to send them home because they would not be safe there, especially
after being here. Egypt, which already has millions of unwanted refugees, does
not want these people back. No other country has been willing to take them,
either, except the emerging independent nation of Southern Sudan, which, in the
last couple of years, has repatriated some 300 of its countrymen who had been
And the void they left behind was filled in a
The government is building a border fence that’s expected to be
finished in 2 1/2 years, along with a detention camp to hold 10,000 refugees
that’s slated to be ready within a year.
But what about in the meantime?
By the time the camp is ready, another 10,000 or more asylum-seekers will have
arrived, and who knows how many will have been abused or murdered in the
By the time the fence is complete in 2013, who knows how big the
refugee population in the poor neighborhoods of South Tel Aviv, Ashdod, Arad,
Eilat and other cities will be? And even after the fence is built, what will we
do with the Africans who reach here? Send them back? To where? Nobody wants
them. How many detention camps are we going to have to build, and how long are
we going to have to keep those people in them?
This is impossible, obviously. We
are on a fast track to an unimaginable reality. And the first idea I’ve heard
that makes sense, that seems to be a workable solution – that stops the refugees
from reaching our border in the first place, or at least reduces their numbers
drastically – is to kill the people, and I use that term loosely, who bring them
If Egypt can’t or won’t do it, then the Mossad has to. ASAP. This
is an emergency.
Ridding the world of the Sinai smugglers would be a
tremendous mitzva, worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize. It would spare masses of
asylum- seekers who’ve already lived through hell from encountering an even
lower depth of it. And it would save this country from becoming a permanent
magnet for the desperate of Africa.
I’m sorry, but the refugees from
Eritrea and Sudan – and from other African countries later – will have to go
elsewhere. Israel, with 1/1,000th of the world’s population and an even smaller
portion of the world’s land, has already taken in more than its share of them.